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All Eyes on the Koreas as Olympics Kick Off


Council on Foreign Relations Newsletter If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view. February 9, 2018 Daily News Brief   TOP OF THE AGENDA All Eyes on the Koreas as Olympics Kick Off The Olympic Games in Pyeongchang are underway after the start of an opening ceremony in which North and South Korean athletes marched under a unified flag. Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, arrived in South Korea (BBC) to attend the games, marking the first visit to the South by a member of the ruling family in more than sixty years. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, leading the U.S. delegation to the event, met with North Korean defectors (Korea Times) ahead of the Friday ceremony. A day earlier, Pence met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at Seoul's Blue House, where he reaffirmed the United States' commitment to its ally and said that North Korea has to "accept change" regardless of what emerges during the Olympics (VOA). ANALYSIS "Even though there may seem to be discontent and disagreement between President Trump and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, the fact of the matter is it's a very solid alliance between the United States and South Korea," Tina Park said in an interview with National Public Radio. "There is [an] overarching risk that feeding too much into the symbolism of peace while lacking any underlying progress in reducing tensions could lead to disappointment once the games are over," writes CFR's Scott A. Snyder. "These major sporting events are essentially about power, exerting power, and showcasing your nation," Jonathan Grix said in a CFR interview. PACIFIC RIM Journalists Jailed for Reporting Myanmar Executions, Says Reuters The U.S. State Department has called for an independent probe into atrocities in Myanmar's Rakhine State following a Reuters report that details the massacre of ten men (Reuters) from the Rohingya ethnic minority by neighbors and soldiers. The news agency said it was the report that led to the arrest in Myanmar of two of its reporters (Al Jazeera), who face fourteen years in prison. This CFR Backgrounder looks at the Rohingya refugee crisis. SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA Russian Envoy Says Afghanistan a Base for Islamic State Russia's ambassador to Pakistan said that militants of many nationalities, including from Iraq and Syria, are regrouping in Afghanistan (VOA) under the banner of the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The envoy called the country a "resting base" for terrorists. This CFR Timeline looks at the United States' sixteen years at war in Afghanistan. INDIA: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald J. Trump spoke by phone on Thursday to discuss regional concerns (RFE/RL), including security in Afghanistan and Myanmar's refugee crisis. MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA Mattis: Syria Strikes Do Not Mean U.S. Engagement Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said U.S. air strikes this week against Syrian forces allied with the government of Bashar al-Assad were carried out in "self defense" (VOA) after pro-regime forces attacked a base used by a U.S.-backed militia. Mattis said the clash does not a signal deepening U.S. engagement in the country. IRAN: A senior finance official in France said his country is "encouraging companies" to continue doing business in Iran (Al Jazeera) despite recent U.S. objections to the 2015 nuclear deal. SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA Mandela Foundation Urges Zuma to Step Down The foundation of former South African president and anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela has called on President Jacob Zuma (BBC) to step down soon, accusing the current leader of "systematic looting." Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said he is holding direct negotiations with Zuma over a transfer of power. ETHIOPIA: The attorney general announced that 746 political prisoners will be released, bringing the total freed since January (Reuters) to nearly six thousand. Many were arrested in connection with protests in the last three years in the Oromia and Amhara regions. EUROPE European Parliament Rebukes Latest Arrests in Turkey The European Parliament has passed a resolution condemning the arrests of hundreds of people in Turkey who criticized an ongoing Turkish military offensive (DW) against Kurdish forces in Syria. RUSSIA: The election commission has released a list of eight candidates (RFE/RL) who will run in an early March presidential election. President Vladimir Putin is expected to easily win reelection. Chris Miller discusses the success of Putinomics in Foreign Affairs. AMERICAS Brazil, Colombia Tighten Border Security Brazil announced that it will send additional troops to its borders (Guardian) and begin relocating thousands of Venezuelan refugees who have already crossed the border to interior towns and cities. Colombia similarly announced new border measures to boost security, including ending day passes for Venezuelans (DW) to buy food and supplies. VENEZUELA: The International Criminal Court will open a preliminary probe (UN News) into excessive use of force and violence by state security forces in protests since last April. UNITED STATES Budget Deal Passes Before Dawn The House of Representatives passed a budget deal (NYT) early on Friday to avoid a second government shutdown. The bill increases spending by hundreds of billions of dollars, almost two-thirds of which will go to military spending (WaPo). The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,033 points yesterday (CNN) after losing a record 1,175 points on Monday amid fears of rising interest rates. It is the Dow's steepest decline over one week since October 2008.         Council on Foreign Relations — 58 East 68th Street — New York, NY 10065 CFR does not share email addresses with third parties. Forward This Email | Subscribe to CFR Newsletters | Unsubscribe - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  


Date: February 09, 2018 at 10:58PM